ABC7 meteorologist Cheryl Scott said most areas will see between 2 to 5 inches of snow between noon and 7 p.m. Thursday, with highest totals north and west of the city.
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The snow will be followed by bitter cold air with winds up to 45 mph. Blowing snow will be a problem Thursday night and Friday morning. With the wind comes arctic temperatures, with lows below 0 and wind chills making it feel colder than it has in two years, since the last polar vortex.
Scott said starting Friday, temperatures won't climb above freezing for at least 10 days, and possibly even the next two weeks.
A Winter Weather Advisory has been issued from 11 a.m. Thursday until 12 p.m. Friday for Cook, DeKalb, DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry, Grundy, Kendall, and LaSalle counties in Illinois and Lake and Porter counties in Indiana.
Some far western counties, including Lee and Ogle, are under a Winter Storm Watch until noon Friday.
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The Chicago Office of Emergency Management and Communications along with the Department of Family and Support Services and other departments urged residents Wednesday to prepare for upcoming arctic weather conditions.
They provided safety tips about staying warm, ways to avoid pipes freezing and more.
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Make sure warm air is circulating throughout the home, and keep a trickle of water running in order to prevent frozen pipes. If pipes freeze, do not use candles or any open flame to thaw them. Instead use a hair dryer or heating pad. For more information visit chicago.gov/water.
The Chicago Fire Department does not recommend using space heaters; however, if used, be sure they are UL certified and at least 3 feet from anything that can ignite. The use of a space heater in children's rooms should be monitored closely as children sometimes move them close to or into the bed with tragic results, officials said. If extension cords are used, they should be rated at 15 amps minimum and never put cords under carpet. With the added demand on furnaces and boilers, CFD also reminds residents they are required by ordinance to have working carbon monoxide detectors to protect against carbon monoxide leaks from a heating system that could be fatal over time, and to keep smoke detectors in working order.
Those seeking access to warming centers and/or experiencing insufficient heat are encouraged to contact 311 for immediate assistance.
OEMC will monitor weather conditions with the National Weather Service and coordinate response efforts with the city's public safety and infrastructure departments and public partners to keep residents safe and informed, officials said.
Residents were reminded to provide any needed assistance to neighbors, family members, the elderly and those most vulnerable during the cold weather. If you need to request a well-being check you can call 311, go to 311.chicago.gov, or use the 311 mobile app.
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Visit chicago.gov/city/en/depts/fss.html for more information.